We made it back to the Martin Manor RV park around noon time today. Now it's laundry time and get ready for our next outing.
The following are Jo's welcome home - birthday presents;
Our crab tree
white bleeding heart
pink bleeding heart
yellow thorn-less Texas rose
our goldfish had babies
a few years ago when our goldfish pond went kaput and we had it filled in, we found these two larger fish were in the pond area when we got back from a trip. Our good neighbor that looks after our place in our absence used to feed the fish and seemed to enjoy them as much as we did so he made the two larger ones to take their place. During this current trip apparently the size of our fish school has doubled, we love it.
Both the weather and the views have been beautiful today. Our GWF has outdone herself with plentiful sunshine and pleasant temperatures. Today the dogwood and redbud have been the most plentiful and in their full bloom glory, as in ooh and aah time. Tonight we are in Benton, IL near Rend Lake so tomorrow's drive will be relatively short getting us home a little past noon.
After our brief restful stay in Columbia, SC we are now in eastern Tennessee. We have enjoyed the drive today as we moved through NC into eastern TN back into some higher elevations of the Smokies and into dogwood and redbud country in full bloom, beautiful.
Tomorrow our stop is near Rend Lake in IL which is an easy trip home from there. Since installing the 50 gal fuel tank it is easy to avoid having to purchase fuel in IL, but that's a personal peeve.
Just got back from the Piggly Wiggly. It really was within walking distance but I don't imagine they would have appreciated us pushing one of their carts back to the trailer. This store was huge with everything that we had on our list, and then some. We stopped at another Piggly Wiggly in Chattahoochee earlier on this trip and they catered to only the local desires with very limited selections but this one was extra nice. We are all stocked up now for the trip homeward and then some. With another trip in the plans within a couple of weeks we will not turn off the fridge and leave all but the immediate use items there for future use.
We have one glitch in our plans for the next few trips. I have been put on jury notice for the next quarter (April - June) so when my two weeks are scheduled I will have to be close by and check the docket for "need to show" at the courthouse. They said that I would be notified a couple of weeks before my 2 week duty so we will just have to make adjustments as necessary. Jo has been on call several times and actually served on a sequestered jury (major case) a few years ago but I have never served.
We have enjoyed a quiet and restful day today. There isn't any attraction in this area that we feel is a "must do" so we have just loafed. The weather forecast has been for a good percentage (30% to 50%) for rain while we are here in Columbia but that hasn't happened yet. We drove through several showers yesterday but our GWF is still with us and let the sun shine while setting up this campsite. The weather map shows some showers headed this way within the next hour so I guess the 30% chance is likely to happen. We were out and about most of the time while in St. Augustine so this slow down feels good.
After a very nice stay on Anastasia Island and our good times in Saint Augustine we pulled out this morning and headed north by northwest and have now arrived in Columbia, SC. As we drove northward the flora changed and we are now seeing dogwood, azaleas and wisteria in full bloom, very nice. In the wild along the roadway the wisteria has taken over clumps of trees in mass and made them beautiful all the way to the top including some pine. We are here for a couple of days and will see if there is something to tour or just sit and enjoy the calm before the three day trip back to Missouri.
This morning we went to the alligator farm and zoo here on Anastasia Island just a mile from our campground. Beside all the gators and crocks from many locations around the world they also have other unusual animals and birds. They also have a zip line that you can pay to slide over the gator ponds, just don't drag your feet.
We again utilized the shuttle for a trip back to Saint Augustine and a couple more museum tours. The first we visited was the "Old Store" which was a replica of a WalMart from years ago with all the newest inventions and anything else folks in that era might need. Then we toured the "Old Jail" that was in the original building from years ago with many period furnishings along with prisoner conditions from those years.
The biggest problem with using the shuttle and trolley service was that we were tied to their schedule. When ever we got off at an attraction we then had to wait for the next trolley to continue. While the trolley service schedule was at a fifteen or twenty minute interval we had to ride around the total route to get back to a stop that we wanted to see.
This is our campsite picture that I took while waiting for the shuttle.
We hopped on board the shuttle again this morning to check out a few more sites in town. It turned out that the tour of the oldest house took quite a bit more time than we thought so after that and a trolley ride around town it was time for lunch. We ate in the Scarlett O'Hara restaurant which was fun and then caught the shuttle back to the campground. We have tickets for two more museum attractions that are in the plans for tomorrow and also want to visit the alligator farm zoo.
The corned beef turned out great, as expected, along with the Guinness.
This morning we caught a shuttle bus from our campground that took us to downtown Saint Augustine where we connected with the "old town trolley" for a "get on - get off" tour of the oldest town in North America. There were many points of interest but our ticket is good for three days and we will do some different sites in the next couple of days.
The first major stop that we spent some time and took pictures was the Castillo De San Marco, a fort that protected this area from pirates and other foes. Another stop was the fountain of youth. We both drank from the spring but didn't feel any relief from any aches and pains. In our next venture back on the tour we plan to see the "oldest house" and want to visit the Alligator farm zoo, stay tuned.
While we were out yesterday I made sure to pick up some Guinness for today's celebration of the patron saint of the engineers. Jo usually does a corned beef brisket in the crock pot but since she didn't bring the crock pot she is going to try to make use of the convection oven. It will be an experience but I'm sure it will work out well. We don't plan to do much running around today so she can babysit the slow cooking process in a device that was designed to be much faster than regular ovens.
This morning we took a short drive to the coast and beach area near our campground. There was no direct access to the beach from where we parked but we did get a few pictures. The sand was clean and packed so walking or biking didn't leave any prints. There were several sun-bathers and a few trying to surfboard but there weren't any large waves.
Then we went to the lighthouse. It was quite a climb so Jo stayed on the ground while I huffed and puffed my way to the top. Jo did get some flower pictures around the grounds.
Enjoy (not beware) the Ides of March. It was a very pleasant day's drive today across northern Florida and we are now set for this next week in St. Augustine Beach. We set up this trip to get to some warmer temperatures than March in Missouri. When I checked the weather this morning it was 3 degrees warmer in Holts Summit than it was in Chattahoochee where we were. Oh well, Holts Summit doesn't have palm trees and Spanish moss.
We don't have big plans for exploring this area except for a couple of seafood dinners where it is really fresh from the sea. St. Augustine claims to be the oldest city in the US so I'm sure there will be other points of interest so stay tuned.
Another calm day before we head to the East Coast of Fla. and our stay for the next week.
Yesterday I tried to update the software on my MiFi internet connection and had problems. After a call to the Verizon 800 help line it was decided that I needed a new SIM card so this morning we headed to Tallahassee and a Verizon Wireless store. It was only a 30 mile each way run so an easy "back by noon" outing. After installing the new SIM card I was able to check the software to find that I have the latest version and no upgrade is necessary.
Today was a very calm or lazy day. This morning we needed to find a grocery so we took miss Navi's (her last name is gator) advice and headed out. The first grocery we found was an IGA and when we got there it was no longer operating so we headed to the next on the list, a Piggly Wiggly and there we started our shopping for the list. We couldn't find all that we wanted in that store and settled for a bit less than we wanted and then went in search for a dollar general store. Following the GPS on the way to the Family Dollar we passed a Winn Dixie so pulled in and found that it was a much larger store with all of the items that were on our list including the beef brisket for St. Patty's day. Jo found what she wanted at the Family Dollar and then we were back to the trailer for lunch.
This afternoon I tried to update the software on my new internet connection MiFi but soon became frustrated. I called Verizon help line and spent quite some time with their assistance without any resolution. Tomorrow I will find a local VZW store and see what I can do to help with our internet connection.
No pictures but we saw a lot of nice / beautiful azaleas, dogwood, and wisteria in lawns along the way.
We're set up now for a couple of days of rest after three days of driving. I'm sorry that there wasn't a post yesterday but apparently we didn't have a strong enough data signal from Verizon so I didn't have a computer connection. We had voice signal enough for the phone to work with just enough data signal to get connected but not for anything to work. ;-(
We have sure enjoyed the drive all the way from home to here for the flowers that we saw advancing the further south we came. From West Plains to Memphis there were fruit trees like wild plum, wild cherry, and then apple, pear, and peach in yards along the way. From Memphis to Birmingham there were redbuds in bloom. Between Birmingham and Montgomery we began to see dogwood and azaleas. South of Montgomery there have been many azaleas and some wisteria.
We have been accumulating a shopping list these past couple of days so here in Chattahoochee we will find a grocery and take care of those few items that we didn't think about before departure.
It felt good to be back in the saddle again. There were no problems making the drive but during the set-up at the campground it seemed like we were having to learn all over again what needed to be done and get back in the groove. I'm sure that we will figure it all out before the summer is over.
We found out that our bedroom clock had decided to not function this year. It was supposed to set itself automatically but wouldn't allow us to even set it manually. I hadn't planned on unhitching but it wasn't any problem to unhook and make a run to the nearby WalMart. While we were out I fueled up so don't have that to take care of in the morning.
Tomorrow we head southeastward to our campground just south of Birmingham, AL.
I still want to adopt that dog from the Bud Lite commercials.
Basically we are all re-stocked and ready to roll. We just have the after-breakfast stuff to load in the fridge and we are off. Tomorrow we head to Marion, AR which is just a bit NW of Memphis along I-55. We are looking forward to getting back on the road with several planned outings for this year, stay tuned.
With the last few days of mild temperatures we have opened up the trailer and begun the process of getting it ready for next Saturday and the beginning of this season of travels. On Saturday the 10th we are on our way toward the east coast of Florida at St. Augustine Beach.